Dickstein has a commission from Playwrights Horizons, she told Playbill On-Line. She's had the commission to write a new intimate musical "for a few years," she said, but Little Women "has been all-consuming, but I'm very much looking forward to writing it."
For PH, she is writing book and lyrics for Strange Vacation, loosely based on Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle."
The proviso for the PH commission was that the show had to be for a small cast, she said. Her composer for the project is Dan Messé, her collaborator on past songs for TheatreWorks/USA. Messé is part of a folk-pop band called Hem.
"Although it's very loosely based on the source material, when I do original musicals I like to have some sort of source material as a structure," Dickstein said. "It gives a reference point and a beginning, middle and end to start with."
Previews for Little Women begin at the Virginia Theatre Dec. 7, toward a Jan. 23, 2005, opening. Jason Howland is the composer, Allan Knee the librettist and Susan H. Schulman the director. Dickstein's songs were included in Lincoln Center's American Songbook as part of Hear & Now: Contemporary Lyricists. Other collaborative work includes Notes Across a Small Pond, produced by the Bridewell Theater, London; Beasts and Saints, for Boston Music Theater Project, ASCAP Workshop and MTW; and several musicals for Theatreworks/USA. Her work has been performed at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, The Vineyard, The Women's Project and Cucaracha Theater. Her awards include the Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, Second Stage Constance Klinsky Award, ASCAP Bernice Cohen Award, and New York Foundation for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Foundation playwriting fellowships. She received her MFA from New York University's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, where she was an Oscar Hammerstein Fellow.